Regina Clark on Southland

Out of all the leading ladies sparkling on TV today, one of them is leading the charge without fulfilling some sort of character mold or being overly weird. Regina King plays Detective Lydia Adams on TNT’s hit police drama Southland, a show already known for breaking the rules.

I’ve said in the past that this is a tight  show that pulls its punches only before hitting you with an uppercut. Taking the idea of the hand-cam documentary cops show, they follow officers in a carefully scripted story arc with very adult subtleties.

So Regina King plays a cop who really cares for people but is working the detective beat in one of the toughest areas. She is tough-minded and gutsy but has no problem reflecting the soft sensibilities of a woman who is still very much woman.

And that’s what makes her character great. When she finally lets her guard down they put her in a tough spot and make her cop-side all the more powerful. Anyone who caught season one would remember gangsters breaking into her house and her singlehandedly taking them out with a shotgun. This season was no different as she walks into a factory, against the flowing tide of fleeing humans, towards a psychopath with a machine gun. Without pulling what other shows do (reminding us of what happened earlier in the episode) we see the story arc come full circle giving us a tight cycle but with a very adult approach: you don’t have to be told to be reminded; you just have to follow the story. And Regina manages to make you care as you follow.

Solid show even if the language is rough and the situations are often sordid but totally worthwhile following Regina’s Detective Adams throughout Southland.